The New Paltz women’s basketball season tacked four wins onto their dwindling season, setting up their placement in the SUNYAC tournament as many fans and players await their final seeding and where they will be going into the quarterfinals next week.
For the first quarter of their game against Geneseo on Feb. 7, the game was shorter in its own way. Although fitting the time constraint of NCAA basketball, the Lady Hawks held the Geneseo Knights 9-8 throughout the first. The Knights’ third-year forward Kerrin Montgomery, third-year forward Abigail Duvivier, first-year guard Taylor Hansen and second-year forward Megan Roell tallied points in the quarter. Fourth-year forward Maddie Van Pelt, fourth-year forward Philesha Teape and fourth-year guard Marion Dietz each tacked on two for the Hawks, while first-year guard Olivia Badura sunk a 3-pointer, ultimately taking the lead against the Knights.
Dietz started the second quarter with a good layup at 9:19. Geneseo’s first-year guard Hannah Stockman tied up the score 11-11 after a 3-pointer at 6:41. By 6:30, Badura came with a good jumper in the paint. Only 30 seconds later, Badura had a fastbreak in the paint, tallying another two onto the scoreboard. First-year forward Lauren Romito came in for the Knights with a jumper next, but after a minute of no scoring, Montgomery caught a foul, allowing fourth-year forward/guard Paige Niemeyer to score two for the Hawks off of free throws. The Hawks led 17-13.
The Hawks went on to lead the rest of the quarter, and the scoreboard was lit up at 28-22 going into the half. The third quarter, on the other hand, was one of tough defense on both sides of the court. The Knights held the Hawks to only six throughout the entire quarter, but the Hawks returned the favor. Remaining in the lead, New Paltz was ahead 34-30.
Two minutes into the fourth, Roell and fourth-year guard Sarah Ciotti tied up the score 34-34. With Roell and Ciotti adding another two each, the Knights took the lead 38-34, but the Hawks wouldn’t stand down. Dietz brought the ball with 4:26 remaining on the clock, and sunk a 3-pointer to bring the Hawks only one behind the Knights.
The back-and-forth continued until third-year guard Lindsay Halpin fouled, giving Dietz two free throw opportunities. After sinking both, the Hawks led 41-40. With only 53 seconds remaining on the clock, Van Pelt sunk a jumper. Dietz earned another with three more free throws, and Niemeyer earned two herself. New Paltz went on to defeat Geneseo 48-40, leaving the Hawks 11-1 in the State University of New York Athletic Conference.
On Feb. 8, the Lady Hawks returned to the Hawk Center to celebrate their senior day. In another dominant win, New Paltz defeated Brockport 66-44, bringing the Hawks’ record up 12-1 in SUNYAC.
First-year guard/forward Maddie Gillis dominated for the Hawks throughout the entirety of the game, earning a total of 16 points at the finish. Teape followed behind her earning 10, then Badura and Van Pelt followed close behind each tallying nine.
Going 1-3, 1-4 and 0-8 in 3-pointers for the first three quarters of the game, the Lady Hawks increased their percentages by going 3-8 in the final quarter. Overall, their score of 66 was assisted by 13 points in free throws.
“I think the games went really well this weekend. Friday’s game was a real testament to who we are,” Dietz said. “To be able to score 48 points and still say you won the game at this level is something to be really proud of as a team. We were able to put together two really solid, defensive games. It’s really great knowing that even if we struggle to score the ball, we can rely on our defense to keep us in the game.”
The main aspect of this game was to celebrate the four graduating seniors: Van Pelt, Teape, Dietz and Niemeyer.
“They’re everything. They are our heart and soul. They are also our best players. They’re our leaders,” said Head Coach Seward of his four seniors to the Athletic Communications Office. “The thing is we graduated three really good players and two All-Americans [last season], some tremendous leadership and personalities and the thing that I kept coming back to over the offseason and what I kept thinking about this team was the four seniors. They deserve to be good. They are such hard-working, conscientious, accountable, responsible, reliable people.”
In lieu of the New Paltz water crisis this past week that sent resident students home, the Lady Hawks had to remain on top. On Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 the Hawks came out defeating SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Buffalo on the road.
Dietz led in points for the Hawks, earning a total of 16 points for the game. She was named team Defensive Player of the Year last season on the SUNYAC winning team.
Against SUNY Fredonia, New Paltz tallied up 78 points to the Blue Devils 63. Against the Bengals, the Lady Hawks came out on top once more, winning 79-57.
The Lady Hawks have two regular season games left, with their eyes on earning the No. 1 seed in the SUNYAC tournament. The SUNYAC quarterfinals begin Tuesday, Feb. 25, where New Paltz will be tested on their dominance.